Returning to the Australian Boomers for his first training session today, Patty Mills could not be more excited ahead of the Oceania Championships.
Having gotten the call while still in the United States, Mills only needed the all-clear for his shoulder which had kept him out of half of the 2014/15 NBA season, before hopping on a plane.
“The situation with my shoulder was a tough one, I wasn’t 100% when the NBA season ended,” said Mills.
“The focus was to get it 100% before the Rio Olympics. That’s what you learn when you grow up to be a professional player, to understand your body and your health. This is our tool and we’ve got to look after it.”
However, once he was given the go-ahead, Mills had no second thoughts.
“Other than that, it was a no-brainer. I always want to play for Australia no matter what the circumstances.”
Having first joined the national team in 2006, the point guard has a familiarity not only with his teammates but with the systems that coach Andrej Lemanis runs.
“The situation isn’t ideal with Dante going down but nonetheless this decision was about my teammates and what we have built,” he said.
“Not only in the last few years with Andrej but what I’ve added to the culture since I first came in. It’s always been about the team and I couldn’t be more excited to come back and be a part of this campaign.”
At this stage, Lemanis does not believe there will be any restrictions on Mills’ playing time.
““There was never a question of [Mills] coming in to play for Australia, just as long as we established he was physically right,” Lemanis said.
“Seeing him come into the room yesterday and connecting with the team mates again, you can tell instantly there is a synergy and comradery that comes with playing for the Australian national team. That puts us in a good position to deal with whatever is thrown in front of us.”
The Australian Boomers tip-off against New Zealand at Rod Laver Arena from 8pm on Saturday August 15. Watch the full press conference with Mills and Lemanis below: